Besides the big news of Apple Sign In, the tech giant announced a privacy update to the Kids category in its App Store developer guidelines at the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California this week.
In earlier iterations, the guidelines restricted behavioural advertising tracking, meaning that advertisers were not permitted to put out ads based on the browsing habits of minors. Furthermore, those ads had to be appropriate for the kid's audience.
Updates will see guidelines include a fresh ban on third-party advertising or analytics (used for tracking) within content designed for younger viewers.
Still within the guidelines is the order that apps do not hold links that can transport a young user beyond that app into content that could “distract” children, unless the parental gate is active; the gate feature is used in apps for kids to stop them from making purchases or drifting into inappropriate areas of the internet – such as social networks – without parental consent.
Despite its claims to uphold user privacy, Apple has come under fire in the past for not doing enough to protect users. Mozilla has said that Apple could do more by altering iOS devices so that advertisers are not able to track mobile device users so easily.
Mozilla, the not-for-profit company behind the Firefox browser, said that the each iPhone’s unique code was like “a salesperson following you from store to store while you shop and recording each thing you look at. Not very private at all.”
The company has called on Apple to change this Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) code each month, which would still enable advertiser tracking, but only for a few weeks as opposed to for the lifetime of the phone’s owner.
Apple’s slogan “What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone” fell foul of a privacy experiment conducted by Washington Post recently, which showed that 5,400 hidden app trackers were consuming iPhone data in just one week.
Earlier in 2019, a TechCrunch probe discovered apps using a software called ‘session reply technology’ which records the screen when an app is open. Apple instructed developers to stop the practice, but not before TechCrunch had found some major brand names employing the software.
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